If you're headed somewhere remote, it helps to have a knowledgeable travel partner. For our Spring 2017 catalog, we teamed up with the travel gurus at Indagare to venture into Utah’s vast wilderness. Here, the Indagare team shares a few tips on exploring the state’s national parks, majestic desert, otherworldly rock formations, and a few ideas for what to pack in your duffel. Take it away, Indagare...
Rugged, beautiful and vast, Utah is an adventurer's dream. Here, the outdoors beckon with the promise of great adventure, but Utah also caters to sophisticates, with some uber-luxe lodgings and the opportunity to make your road-trip fantasy (by car, motorcycle or Airstream) a reality. And when based at the serene Amangiri, a low-lying, ultra-exclusive retreat tucked amongst sand-hued canyons, travelers can experience the expansive landscape from an indulgent home base. So, pack your sun-faded button downs and perfectly broken-in jeans; we’re going West.
1. Sleep…soundly and wake up to desert views.
Each of Amangiri’s 34 stylish accommodations feature floor-to-ceiling windows, natural stone floors, desert tones and minimalist but comfortable furnishings. The king-sized beds are all positioned to take full advantage of the breathtaking views and each room has a spacious dressing room, twin head shower and deep soaking tub. Some of the suites come with small plunge pools that overlook the desert expanses.
2. Eat…at Amangiri’s restaurant with breathtaking panoramas.
The design of the resort’s airy restaurant echoes the wide stretches of desert with glass walls, an open kitchen and a spacious alfresco terrace. The menu features innovative iterations of Southwestern classics such as bison tartare, green chili chowder and ribeye with Utah salt, chilies and ancho steak sauce. For a truly special experience, enjoy a private dinner at a Chinle Indian site with a prix-fixe menu that includes meat and fish grilled on hot stones.
3. Drive…from Moab to Bryce via scenic Highway 12.
This picturesque road starts behind Capital Reef National Park and snakes through the Dixie National Forest and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. (The drive is particularly stunning when the Aspen and birch trees feature yellow foliage during the fall.) The route features vistas of expansive canyon landscapes, as well as beautiful valleys and small towns along the way. At the top of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, stop for a quick break at Kiva Koffeehaus (Hwy 12, Milemarker 73.86; Escalante), a lofty café with homemade cinnamon rolls and breathtaking views.
4. Watch…the sun rise at Bryce Canyon’s otherworldly amphitheater.
The so-called “canyon” — it’s actually a large, cauldron-like expanse — is studded with hoodoos: slender, jagged rock formations that look equal parts Giacometti and Dr. Seuss. The easiest trails run along the rim; others drop into the landscape for longer, more challenging hikes. The two most difficult hikes are the Fairyland and the Peek-a-Book Loops, both of which promise a marvel of vistas, incredible rock formations and pine forest trails.
5. See…the stunning Elegant Arch at the end of a 1.5-mile trail in Arches.
Arches National Park expands as far as the eye can see, dotted with huge sandstone formations with such wonderful names as Balanced Rock, Tower Arch and the Fiery Furnace. The park has more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches within its confines – the most famous being Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch and Double O Arch. There are several unforgettable hikes that crisscross the crimson landscapes.
6. Go…for a hike in Zion National Park, a place of spiritual beauty.
Drive into Zion through the east entrance, which is jaw-droppingly scenic. Several of the Zion hikes are challenging, but all reward with vistas that are humbling in their grandeur and beauty (a favorite for impressive expanses is Observation Point). The bragging rights hike is Angel's Landing, a challenging 5.4-mile trek that culminates at a long, narrow ridge with spectacular views. The mass of trails here means that there is terrain for everyone, from young children to serious hikers.
7. Experience…thrilling hikes and the magnificent setting without leaving Amangiri.
The hotel has several (light) hikes on-property, including some more challenging Via Ferrata ones. These are great opportunities for travelers finding their hiking legs before attempting more strenuous excursions into the Four Corners region. The Hoodoo Trail ends with sweeping aerial views, while the Cave Trail culminates in a spacious cavern with ancient petroglyphs.